Happy is the bee that the sun shines on

151124a Hat Bee

This bee landed on my hat (while I was wearing it) and hung out long enough for a picture. © Erik Brown

The cold is slowly coming to Virginia. Most of our days have been warm enough for the bees to fly, with only a handful of fall days colder than 50 degrees (10 Celcius). A couple frosty nights here and there but again most nights well above freezing. Tuesday I finished some winter preparations on the hives, and it was in the mid-50’s. The top bar hive was especially buzzing for a good 15 or 20 minutes, with dozens of bees checking out the bee yard.

According to Jürgen Tautz in his book The Buzz about Bees, so-called orientation flights generally occur only when a queen is present. So I’ll take this activity as a good sign. Continue reading

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Dancing Queen: watch that scene

Welcom

This is the second of two posts about the VSBA 2015 Fall Meeting. See the intro post for a short summary of the meeting, and the prior post for a discussion of Dr. David Tarpy’s talks. This second post is about the sessions given by Dr. Ernesto Guzman on selective breeding and the use of natural oils and nutraceuticals in a hive. Continue reading